The Diary: Julian Assange; David Fincher; Coen Brothers; Polly Stenham; David Shrigley

 

Julian of the opera

It has melodrama and scandal, secrets and lies, and, at its heart, a memorably flawed hero. Now the Wikileaks saga is to become an opera. Last month, Opera Australia held secret workshops in Melbourne for a new piece based on the life of Julian Assange (above left). The creation of OA's artistic director Lyndon Terracini – one-time neighbour of Assange in Lismore, New South Wales – the opera has a score by the young composer Jonathan Dreyfus and comes with the blessing of the Wikileaks founder.

At this stage, details are swathed in secrecy, but Terracini reveals: "I can tell you that I came up with the idea and engaged some pretty 'out there' guys to develop something to workshop. That's all we have at this point in time. We're looking at how we actually do it."

One of the "out there" guys was Eddie Perfect, a singer and comedian who previously gave voice to Shane Warne in a musical version of the cricketer's life. So, who is more enjoyable to sing – Assange or Warney? "Assange is a greater challenge because his personality is filtered through the media and we rarely see the "human" side. He's also more subdued. Withdrawn, geekish, driven, perhaps a little arrogant," Perfect tells me. "I really like him though. Warney is all exterior and rarely self-reflective. Assange is all interior."

The many take club

Is David Fincher the new Stanley Kubrick? According to Robin Wright, who stars in his upcoming The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the director thinks nothing of shooting the same scene up to 90 times to get his take. "He shoots for nine months and it shows. On the set you literally do 87 takes, picking up a glass, and each one is different. He'll just keep the camera rolling and... you can go for 40 minutes," said the actress at Doha Tribeca Film Festival. "He doesn't call 'cut'. He'll give you a different adjective every time you pick up the glass... You just have to stop thinking and react. He is a machine." Kubrick is reputed to have required 127 takes for a scene involving Shelley Duvall in The Shining so, really, Wright got off lightly.

No credit for the other Coen

They alternate top billing on their films, but the latest project from the Coen Brothers will have only one name below the title. Later this month, three one-act plays by Ethan Coen premiere in New York in an Atlantic Theatre Company production, starring Amanda (daughter of Randy) Quaid. Happy Hour, a trio of dark comedies about a bitter barfly, a lonely young couple and a suicidal businessman, comes with the Coen-esque tag line, "Your life could be worse". Another of Coen's dramas, Talking Cure, is currently running on Broadway as part of Relatively Speaking, alongside one-act plays by Woody Allen and Elaine May. The brothers have just finished filming a remake of the 1966 art heist Gambit, starring Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth in New Mexico and London. Perhaps they just need a little time apart.

Urban gothic

There was a chance to see new work by Polly Stenham at the nabokov art club's Festival of the Dead last weekend. At midnight, Hallowe'en revellers at Battersea Arts Centre gathered in the entrance hall to watch a high priestess begin the "ritual". Though hard to judge the merits of Stenham's script (it had been translated into gothic-sounding Romanian), the piece reached a suitably dramatic sacrificial climax, involving aerial gymnastics and a UV rave. Stenham was introduced to nabokov's artistic director Joe Murphy by the playwright Simon Stephens. "Polly was attracted to the idea of a collaborative piece rather than sitting in a room writing on her own," says Murphy. "We're hoping to take the piece to a festival and are working on more projects."

Surreal cooking show

David Shrigley, best known for his cartoon vignettes of modern life, has written an opera. Pass the Spoon premieres at Glasgow's Tramway this month and is a surreal take on a TV cookery show, featuring a singing banana, a glum egg and a giant dung beetle. The artist hopes to tour it to QEH in London to coincide with his exhibition at the Hayward next year, which will include several new large works and films and an animation about a drummer. He last showed there as part of Laughing in a Foreign Language in 2008. "The problem with that show was that as soon as you say something is about humour, it instantly becomes not funny," he says.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor